1. Why Many Genuine People Stay Out of Church
One of the reasons many genuine people stay out of the church is because the “church” has become an institutionalized organized religion – an environment in which many self-serving people thrive. How did Jesus counter this phenomenon?
2. True Moral Standards Expose Hypocrisy
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus called anger as murder, and to look lustfully as adultery. He called the poor, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, etc as blessed. He warned of the wolves in sheep’s clothing. He asked not to store up treasures on earth, but rather in heaven. He asked to pay attention to the plank in one own eye before trying to remove the speck in other’s eyes. We all fall short of such standards, but genuine people loved the standard, while the self-serving religious leaders hated it, as it exposed their hypocrisy.
3. Unless Your Righteousness Exceeds That of Pastors…?
The religious leaders of Jesus’ time claimed that they are better than others and looked down on the people. Religion is their avenue to satisfy their craving for respect, positions of authority, money, etc. Jesus on the other hand challenged the common people: “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:20). That must be an absolute shocker for the religious leaders who are exploiting religion for their selfish ends.
4. The Jesus Style
In his book, “The Jesus Style”, author Gayle Erwin writes: “Jesus’ decision to remain uninvolved with the world’s goods freed him from the hidden agenda…he was able to direct all of his energies and sensitivity toward the real needs of the persons to whom he was ministering and he was able to act out of love alone”. This is the Jesus way that we should like to emulate!
Gayle Erwin also writes: “No church has ever split because two factions were arguing over who would get to be slave, or who would get to be least, or who would get to be last, or who would get to be of no reputation, or who would be the last to use force!”. These are all the characteristics of the Jesus’ way.
The Jesus way was so effective that the religious leaders hated him to the point of killing him, while genuine men/women loved him to the point of willingness to die for him.